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Home > Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021): A Review

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021): A Review

Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity Returns With Next of Kin

Found footage films have the capacity to immerse audiences within the unique perspectives of characters’ digital devices. The best films of the subgenre capitalize upon mediums of technology in ways that feel realistic and important to the storytelling, grounding audiences in the world and action. The effect can be visceral like the front row terror of Rec (2007); discomforting like the lost-in-the-woods disorientation of The Blair Witch Project (1999); even result in moments of absolute awe like the unraveling mystery of Searching (2018).

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin matches a respectably original narrative for the subgenre with ambitious production values and a capable cast, though certain editing and filmmaking decisions frequently break up the immersion of the found footage format. A lack of trust in audience imagination ultimately makes the film an efficiently entertaining but forgettable experience. 

Actress Emily Bader commits to the scream queen role of Margot, the film’s driven and unfortunately curious protagonist, attempting to meet and make a documentary about her long-lost family. After connecting with a biological cousin, Margot, her cameraman Chris, and sound engineer Dale, arrive at the film’s main setting — the premises of an isolated Amish farming community. 

The cast provide straightforward performances to the standard-horror material. The central mystery, though predictable, remains generally compelling until the chaotic and uneven finale. Fast pacing keeps the narrative eventful and engaging for the length of the runtime. 

Paranormal Activity

Next of Kin serves up a handful of genuinely tense sequences. Unfortunately, amateurishly timed jump scares accompanied by sudden input gains in the score frequently evaporate the suspense. The filmmakers constantly ask the audience to suspend disbelief in the logic, even breaking the rules of the found footage format to convey exposition and keep the cameras rolling. As a result, Next of Kin never reaches the sustained intensity it aims for, though the finale delivers memorably vivid visuals. 

Visually, Next of Kin stands apart from the gritty and low-budget aesthetics common to found footage, attributed to Margot for one having a dedicated film crew with expensive equipment following her. Furthermore, Next of Kin features detailed, occasionally surprising and creative set design on expansive physical locales. The film acknowledges the money on screen with a scattering of slow-motion shots showcasing special effects work, an unusual choice for a subgenre known for grainy flashes of terrifying imagery.

Next of Kin’s found footage maximalism conflicts with the film’s attempts at legitimate suspense within the format, leading to both unrewarding scares and loss of tension at crucial moments. Nonetheless, energetic narrative progression and an engaging cast elevate Next of Kin’s 98-minute runtime. The film succeeds as a watchable and fun late-night streaming option, now available on Paramount+. For audiences looking to see a continuation of the original Paranormal Activity storyline, prepare for disappointment. Next of Kin lacks any real logical links to the central narrative of the franchise. 

Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021) Official Paramount+ Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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